English Idioms "Boggle My Mind" and "Blow Me Away")!

By Judith Maginnis Kuster

When writing these columns, at times I "draw a blank" trying to "crank out a paper." I have to "put on my thinking cap," "exercise my gray matter," and occasionally "hit the books" to "cover some new ground" and hope I don't "fall flat on my face." It is "a load off my mind" when I learn I'm not "teaching your grandmother to suck eggs." (I bet that's a new one to most of you--it means telling you something you already know). Even those of us who have completed not only "the three R's", but also "higher education" and may even "live in an ivory tower" are "at our wit's end" when we "come face to face" with a "dead line."

Now--draw pictures to illustrate the above paragraph!!

Teaching figurative language is often an important part of treatment for children and adults who have language disabilities or who are learning English as a second language. One interesting component of figurative language is the understanding and use of idioms. Everyday conversation and writing is filled with idioms.

A 2008 ASHA Convention poster session, "Implementation of Classwide Peer Tutoring Strategies to Facilitate Idiom Comprehension" by Erin Lundblom and Juliann Woods states that "idioms should be an intergral part of vocabulary and reading instruction in the classroom; however, idioms are often neglected." ( http://convention.asha.org/handouts/1420_1645Lundblom_Erin_124865_Nov12_2008_Time_111957AM.pdf). This column highlights several internet resources for introducing idioms to children and adults.

Idiom Illustrations

Idioms for Kids

Lesson Plans; Activity Ideas

For Older Clients

If clients do not understand figurative language, they will be "fooled." I hope the above resources "make light work" for you to "take matters into your own hands" and "be on the ball" in providing some "cutting edge" activities about idioms for your some of your clients!


Judith Kuster is a professor in the Department of Speech, Hearing, and Rehabilitation Services at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Contact her at judith.kuster@mnsu.edu. All of Kuster's Internet columns are on ASHA's Web site in HTML format with active links (www.asha.org/about/publications/leader-online/archives/news.htm), although URLs change and there is no guarantee that links from previous articles are still functional.

Kuster, JM, Idioms "Boggle My Mind" and "Blow Me Away"!, The ASHA Leader, May 5, 2009, p. 32.